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Cityscape: Volume 21 Number 2 | National Survey of Mortgage Originations


National Survey of Mortgage Originations

Volume 21 Number 2

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

The Effects of Flood Insurance on Housing Markets

Agustín Indaco
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar

Francesc Ortega
Süleyman Tas¸pınar
Queens College, City University of New York

In this article, we analyze the role of flood insurance on the housing markets of coastal areas. To do so, we assembled a parcel-level dataset of the universe of residential sales for two coastal urban areas in the United States—Miami-Dade County (2008–15) and Virginia Beach (2000–16)—matched with their Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps, which characterize the flood-risk level for each property. First, we compare trends in housing values and sales activity among properties on the floodplain, as defined by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), relative to properties located elsewhere within the same area. Despite the heightened flood risk in the past two decades, we do not find evidence of divergent trends. Second, we analyze the effects of the recent reforms to the NFIP. In 2012 and 2014, Congress passed legislation announcing important increases in insurance premiums and flood map updates. We find robust evidence of large price reductions for properties that were drawn into the flood zone of the new FEMA flood maps. We estimate that, as a result of the mandatory insurance requirement in the flood zone, NFIP insurance costs for such properties in Virginia Beach will increase by an average of about $3,500 per year and lead to a reduction in housing values of about $64,000.

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